Friday, January 19, 2007

the best and worst gigs of my life?

both the best gig i ever went to and the worst were at the same venue - the manchester boardwalk.
i used to go there quite a lot.
manchester was only just over an hour away by car, and there was always interesting things happening there.
it's the club where, downstairs a certain bunch of mancs rehearsed before signing to creation and releasing 10 or more years worth of the most boring and fatuous rock music.
we'll return to them later.

so, the best gig i've ever been to ever was at the manchester boardwalk in 1991.
it was a triple header - the ex, dog faced hermans and dawson.

i took some friends with me, along with my girlfriend at the time - they were much more interested in flowery indie pop and as a result they stood in a corner for the entire evening looking a bit perplexed that they were the only people in polka dot skirts and hair grips.

dawson | how to follow so that others will willingly lead (oh my godley and creme cheese)

dawson were on first and i was held transfixed.
i'll still argue with anyone who cares that dawson were the natural successors to bIG fLAME - all superfast barbed wire guitars, ridiculous bass lines and careering drums.
they were intense.
they were mental.
i fell totally and utterly in love.
ali, the bass player, ran the length of the stage and bounced off walls, jer screamed into the mic and bled over his guitar and all the time richie kept up his unstoppable violent pummeling of his drumkit.

dog faced hermans | mental blocks for all ages

dog faced hermans were up next.
they'd been one of my favourite bands since buying the "unbend" ep after a tip off from a friend.
i'd not had chance to see them live before but i'd seen the live footage of them on TV - it was a show called FSD and there were also live performances by soup dragons, bmx bandits and a whole bunch of others (were the cateran on?).
DfH were a fantastic live band.
exciting, full of energy, they had the ability to make me dance and I DON'T DO DANCING.
but i did that night.

the ex | 6 series box

the ex were the last band on and i'd heard a lot about them - i had a few of their records which i liked a lot but live they were something else!
joined for a few songs by members of DfH's they blended straighforward punk with odd time signatures, skronky improvisation and utter noise.
since that first time i've seen the ex many many times and they remain one of my favourite bands to go and see.
if you get a chance to catch a live show then go! go! GO!

after the everything was over and i'd made my acquaintance with one or two people i'd been corresponding with - andy dog face, ali dawson - and caught up with john robb who was in the audience along with daren who i've talked about in an earlier entry in this here blog (he was everywhere!) i gathered up my friends and we went back to the car.

i was so excited about what i'd spent the evening witnessing that i just couldn't shut up about it.
so much so in fact that i made a wrong turn in altringham and ended getting us all home via unknown country lanes and almost three hours of driving.
my friends weren't impressed.
my girlfriend even less so.

i promised i'd make it up to them.

and that's where the worst gig i ever went to happens.

as i mentioned they all liked jingly jangly whimpy pop.
a few weeks later there was a gig at the boardwalk and i promised i'd drive them to it.
it was another triple bill - the field mice, st. christopher and rain.

rain were on first and they made a horribley boring 3 chord rock thing. i ignored them as much as possible and caught up with glenn st. christopher who i'd not seen since playing with them 2 or 3 years before.
i take it on good authority that rain got the singer's brother in to play guitar and became some pop group called oasis.
i don't care.

st. christopher were on second and they did what st. chris always did - they made glimmering shiny 60's tinged indie pop.
i had a soft spot for them - after all they drove all the way from york to play in front of a dozen people for my birthday party.

the field mice were on last - headlining no less - my friends rushed to the front, hairbands slipping, flowery print dresses swirling and bobbed their heads about in faux childish swooshes and sweeps.
i sat on a stool by the bar and waited for it to be over.
i have NEVER seen a band with so little prescence, so little enthusiasm.
forget shoegazing bands - they at least had noise and power on their side.
each member of the field mice looked bored - perhaps they were - stood still, barely spoke to the audience, sung away from the mic whenever possible so all the singing sounded muffled and amateur.
i could go on for another paragraph or so about it, but you get the idea.

i never took my friends to another concert and, soon afterwards, i split up with my girlfriend.

probably over musical differences.


  • At 2:04 AM, Blogger lostmusic said…

    I lost my Dawson LP many many many years ago. Remember seeing em at the Riverside in Newcastle. They were viscious. Ahhhh, the memories.

  • At 3:30 AM, Blogger crayola said…

    you got my email don't you?

    shout at me and i'll get some dawson to you if you wish.

  • At 3:49 PM, Blogger lostmusic said…

    don't think I have yr email - drop me a line here - tmc@lostmusic.co.uk - would love to hear some Dawson after all this time!

  • At 1:15 AM, Blogger lostmusic said…

    Thanks for those! That's more than I ever owned way back when. Playing 'How to follow....' now. Must be the first time I have heard this record in over 10 years! Thanks again.

  • At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Craig said…

    I'm intrigued by your description of Dawson and can't find much info or any tracks by them. Any chance of posting up some tracks on the Twee Tracker?


  • At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Craig said…

    P.S. I was also at the Field Mice/St Christopher gig at the Boardwalk but I think I enjoyed it more than you seemed to!

  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger crayola said…

    i did put them on the tracker and no-one seemed interested so i took em off.

    i'll stick em up again.


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